Our first court validation appointment was scheduled for National Adoption Day - which apparently is very fun day at court - they have balloons and face painting and it's a big ol' party with families scheduled back to back throughout the day. That date happened to be the same date as the girls' dance rehearsal and performance. So...we rescheduled.
There wasn't a party waiting for us - so we brought our own.
They got to sit in the Jury Box. The judge did turn and ask them if any of them thought there was any reason that Angie shouldn't be a part of our family. Thankful for the love, support and prayers from these people (and others that couldn't be there). Oh...and they all voted that Angie should be ours! Whew! ;)
Judge Howard is such a great guy! He validated Loe & Ren's adoption as well. He's an adoptive father and I think this is the fun part of his job. He asks good questions and is genuinely interested in each family and child. But, also makes sure everyone is comfortable and having fun. (Note the balloons in the background.) He wanted to know who each person was and talked to each of our kids.
After we finished he invited Angie up to sit in his chair. She loved that!
Vivi had to get in on that action. She liked the gavel maybe a little too much! :)
She was nervous before we entered the courtroom. But, by the end she was having fun! And a purple balloon didn't hurt.
Love my family. The way they welcome in our kiddos - by birth or adoption. (We were sad that Chase couldn't make it.)
And here is the rest of our crew...a portion of the amazing family in Christ that makes up our incredible support system. So thankful for each one of them!
No words needed here...melt.
Because Angie's birthday was just a couple of days away - we decided it would work well to have a little celebration following the court appointment. It was an unusually mild December day - in the 60's. So we walked over to Walrus for some ice cream. The girls are walking with Auntie Betsy - she was the sweet gal who took care of these 3 when we were in Colombia. She loves our girls and the feeling is mutual!
Angie with a few sisters and a few friends. We couldn't ask for better friends - these sweet girls and a few others. They love Jesus and have become so dear to our girl. Major answer to prayer!
LOVE these ladies! Betsy supported us as we prepared to travel and during our time away. Leaving my 3 little girls and being apart for 2 weeks - was SO very difficult. Betsy endured my novel-length emails as we prepared to leave. She loved and spoiled them while we were gone. We will be forever grateful for her blessing us during that season. Kelly has been the angel to give us occasional MUCH needed dates away. (With our crew - it's truly respite - with the various issues, behaviors and challenges - we don't leave often and we can't just leave them with anyone. They need to feel safe and secure and we need to know that the person caring for them is aware of the needs and has a ton of patience and compassion as well as wisdom about our unique situation. That's Kelly - in a nutshell.) And then there is Jeni. She is such a dear friend. We all call her our honorary adoptive mom. She's listened to hour upon hour of adoption stories and issues. She knows the terminology and names of the experts - she could probably hand out advice with the best of them! But, more importantly she (and a few other precious friends) are there to be on their knees with us as we walk through the tough stuff. She is there to laugh and cry and drink caffeine together. And it's fun that Loe is sitting here with them - she is such a gem. The way she has poured out her heart and energy for her big sis is incredible. Love her heart!
After we all enjoyed a scoop of ice cream - we sang to Angie. It was an emotional day for our girl - as are most days. Having a quick, casual ice cream "party" was perfect. On her birthday we had a quiet family dinner. Well...as quiet as our family gets with these kiddos. We're looking forward to planning a special party for her sweet 16th birthday next year if she's up for it.
Viv hitched a ride back to the car. She loves Auntie Kelly SOOOO much!
Grandma hugs are the best!
What a blessing to celebrate Angie's adoption and be on this side of it all. She's been home for over 8 months now. The challenges continue to be great. This gives us opportunities every day to speak truth, allow Jesus to shine His light into the dark places. We cling to Him for strength and wisdom. So thankful for His grace and mercies. Angie is an amazing, precious daughter and we love her dearly. What a sweet privilege it is to be her forever family!